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Villages

Birdham ~ As an attractive village beside a tidal creek, Birdham attracts artists to its area, as well as yachtsmen. Birdham,a Saxon settlement, is first recorded in AD 683. The name first appears as Bridham, which suggests this was a spot known for numerous flocks of birds, possibly a nesting colony – as in Bridd Ham or ‘Bird Settlement’. There is a 1492 document that refers to both Byrdham and Bridham, although it was already being pronounced as it is today. Itchenor ~ East Itchenor is now an extinct parish, but its neighbour West Itchenor is a popular water-side village lying on Chichester harbour. This area was one of the first to be colonized by the invading South Saxons. Itchenor’s recorded historydates back over 13 centuries to AD 638 – when it was referred to as Iccanore, ‘Icca’s Shore’ – a stretch of shoreline to which a Saxon by name of Icca had laid claim. In the Domesday Book it appeared as Icenore, by 1187 it was Ichemore and by 1243 Westichenor. During the Napoleonic Wars Itchenor was the site of a large shipyard and dock Birdham As an attractive village beside a tidal creek, Birdham attracts artists to its area, as well as yachtsmen. Birdham, a Saxon settlement, is first recorded in AD 683. The name first appears as Bridham, which suggests this was a spot known for numerous flocks of birds, possibly a nesting colony – as in Bridd Ham or ‘Bird Settlement’. There is a 1492 document that refers to both Byrdham and Bridham, although it was already being pronounced as it is today.Itchenor East Itchenor is now an extinct parish, but its neighbour West Itchenor is a popular water-side village lying on Chichester harbour. This area was one of the first to be colonized by the invading South Saxons. Itchenor’s recorded history dates back over 13 centuries to AD 638– when it was referred to as Iccanore, ‘Icca’s Shore’ – a stretch of shoreline to which a Saxon by name of Icca had laid claim. In the Domesday Book it appeared as Icenore, by 1187 it was Ichemore and by 1243 Westichenor. During the Napoleonic Wars Itchenor was the site of a large shipyard and dock.Earnley ~ This is a small coastal village with a 14th century church and flint walled barns. It lies on an ancient clearing that was once favoured by ernes, or sea-eagles. A document of AD 780 the name is shown as Earneleagh, a little later in 930 it is Earneleia. Bracklesham ~ This small village, west of Selsey, is one of the county’s older Saxon sites. Its recorded history goes back to AD 714 when it was shown as Braclæshamstede – the homestead of a settler named Braccol. Two centuries later, in AD 945, it is more recognizable as Brakelesham. Wittering ~ The villages of East and West Wittering occupy one of the most historic areas in the county. Vespasian’s fleet sailed into Chichester Harbour through the narrow inlet between West Wittering and Hayling Island to take the British Tribal capital of Regnum.

Therefore starting the Roman occupation of Sussex. When the Romans finally left the county four centuries later their Saxon successors included a group called the Wihteringas – the people of Wihtere. Their territory, which is now covered by the two villages, is recorded in a charter of AD 683 as Wihttringes. The western settlement was identified as Westwyghtryngge in 1292 and the eastern one as Estwightryng in 1320.
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